sick bird

Wind-change fears for more birds

A change in wind direction could have killed thousands more birds after scores were found washed ashore along England's south coast.

More seabirds in pollution misery

Increasing numbers of birds are washing up on the south coast after being covered in a mysterious substance.

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Wildlife will populate new nature reserve in two years

A new nature reserve in Selsey is about to be created.

The final stages of a multi-million-pound coastal protection scheme will allow the sea to gently flow into a new area at Medmerry. The area, over time, will develop into a saltmarsh habitat for wildlife such as birds, water voles and reptiles.

The site is designed to help replace important wildlife habitats which have been lost around the Solent. Depending on weather, the work is set to begin on Wednesday.

Wildlife will begin to populate the area over the next couple of years.

Extinct bee nests for first time in Kent

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The previously extinct short-haired bumblebee Credit: Nick Withers

An extinct bumblebee species in the UK has nested for the first time in 25 years in Kent

The short-haired bee disappeared from our shores in the 1980s and RSPB Dungeness reserve in Kent started a mission to reintroduce it.

After two releases of queen bees at the site experts have now recorded offspring worker bees for the first time.

The project is backed by Natural England, RSPC, Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Hymettus which was started by local farmers.

As well as the short-haired bee, the conservation work at Dungeness has also resulted in increased sightings of other rare bumblebee species this summer including ruderal bee, red shanked carder bee and the brown banded carder bee.

Dr Nikki Gammans, who leads the project, said: “This is a milestone for the project and a real victory for conservation. We now have proof that this bumblebee has nested and hatched young and we hope it is on the way to becoming a self supporting wild species in the UK once again.

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How many birds can you spot? Airport fear despite twitcher's record photo

Three volunteers counted all of these. Credit: John Witting

This winter has seen a record number of birds using RSPB Cliffe Pools with one species, the black-tailed godwit, topping the 10,000 mark.

Confirming this enormous number of birds presented a challenge until wildlife photographer John Witting managed to catch most of the godwits in the air at the same time in this picture - then three volunteers counted them.

400 teals, 3,000 lapwings, 4,500 wigeons, 8,000 dunlins and 10,000 black-tailed godwits have spent the winter using the site as a high tide roost.

Andy Daw, RSPB warden, said, “If ever there was any doubt that the Thames Estuary is the wrong place to build an airport, this winter’s record number of birds at RSPB Cliffe Pools is another clear demonstration of the area’s unsuitability.

"I have never before seen so many of these birds in the air at once. Fully one third of all the black-tailed godwits in the UK this winter could be found at Cliffe Pools."

Rescued sea birds to be released today

Rescued sea bird Credit: PA

Sea birds rescued after they were contaminated with a colourless synthetic rubber are to be released back into the wild.

More than 300 birds, mainly guillemots but some razorbills, were taken into care by the RSPCA after being contaminated with Polyisobutylene (PIB) or butyl rubber.

They were rescued along the south coast shores at the end of January and were being cared for at the RSPCA's West Hatchwildlife centre in Taunton, Somerset, and Mallydams Wood in Hastings, East Sussex.

Peter Venn, manager at West Hatch, said: "Our staff have done a fantastic job in cleaning and caring for these birds and now some of them are strong and fit enough to be released back to the wild where they belong.

"They arrived in quite a weak state and needed quite a bit of care and attention to get them rehydrated, fed and strong again before we could wash the sticky substance off them."

Today, the birds will be taken to a cliff-top in the Portland area of Dorset and then released.

Birds to be released after contamination

Sea birds rescued after they were contaminated with a colourless synthetic rubber are to be released back into the wild.

More than 300 birds, mainly guillemots but some razorbills, were taken into care by the RSPCA after being contaminated with Polyisobutylene (PIB) or butyl rubber.

They were rescued along the south coast shores at the end of January.

Tomorrow the birds will be taken to a cliff-top in the Portland area of Dorset, where most of them were found, and then released.

Peter Venn, manager at West Hatch rescue centre, said: "Our staff have done a fantastic job in cleaning and caring for these birds and now some of them are strong and fit enough to be released back to the wild where they belong."

Scientists identify glue-like substance

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Hundreds of guillemots have been washing on up on beaches along the south coast Credit: RSPCA

Scientists have identified the glue-like substance which has been killing sea birds off the Dorset coast. Plymouth University say its used as an additive in lubricating oils to improve performance. Hundreds of guillemots have been washing on up on beaches along the south coast.

More than 300 are being treated at an RSPCA centre in Somerset. An investigation is underway into where the substance came from.

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Oiled birds turning up in Sussex

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More oiled birds are being washed up in Sussex Credit: RSPCA

An RSPCA wildlife centre is working hard to help get hundreds of rescued birds contaminated with a mystery paraffin oil back to wild, while more calls are coming in about oiled birds turning up in Sussex.

More than 300 birds – mainly guillemots but some razorbills - were taken to the West Hatch centre in Taunton, Somerset last week after being contaminated with the strange substance described as ‘sticky Vaseline’.

The number of birds being found by RSPCA inspectors along the south coast, mainly around Dorset, has now dropped – but there is still a lot of work to do to ensure their care.

Tomorrow RSPCA inspectors in Sussex will be launching a boat from Littlehampton to check for more oiled birds after reports came in about an oiled swan on the River Adur and oiled guillemots.

Mystery sea bird pollution saga continues

by Martin Dowse

It could be days before the true scale of the pollution spill affecting sea birds off our coastline is known. Wildlife experts say many more birds covered in a mystery sticky substance may have been blown out to sea.

So far, more than 250 birds have died, hundreds more have washed up on beaches as far as West Sussex and the Isle of Wight. Our Correspondent, Martin Dowse, sent this report from Dorset.

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